CHESHIRE Police have joined a national scheme to tackle the growing problem of fraud.
Action Fraud will see changes in the way information about fraudulent crimes is collated and used to detect crime as well as build up intelligence about fraud and fraudsters.
From Monday anybody reporting fraud to Cheshire Police will be referred to Action Fraud unless the victim is considered vulnerable or an immediate police response will result in the offender being caught.
All police forces in England and Wales will be directing the public to this service by April.
Det Supt Geraint Jones said: “The purpose of Action Fraud is twofold: firstly to make it easier for the public to report fraud and secondly, to develop intelligence, look at trends and enable a better investigation to come out of the process.
The result will be a speedier, more intelligent and more efficient process.
“Fraud is a serious crime. It impacts on all kinds of communities, in particular, vulnerable people. This type of criminality needs to be clamped down on and the offenders need to be brought to justice.”
When reporting crimes to Action Fraud, a national crime reference number is generated and the case is added to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for analysis before being dispatched to the relevant police force.
This new system allows for centralised intelligence and will help identify and disrupt networks of criminal gang activity so seemingly unrelated incidents from around the country can be linked.
Cheshire Police will continue to take reports of serious fraud and deal with cases where a crime is in action or where the victim is particularly vulnerable.
It is estimated fraud costs the British economy £73 billion every year.
To report fraud contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or through www.actionfraud.police.uk